No trace of Sukhbir’s missing relative in Pak

Pakistani investigators are yet to trace a Canadian woman of Indian-origin, a distant relative of Indian Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who went missing in Lahore nearly three months ago.

Investigators here believe Rajvindar Kaur Gill had come to the city in connection with her gems business. She went missing reportedly on August 31, shortly after she arrived in Lahore. Authorities stepped up efforts to trace her after Sukhbir took up the matter with Shahbaz Sharif, the chief minister of Pakistani Punjab, during a recent visit to Lahore.

In an initial report submitted to Punjab Police chief Haji Habibur Rehman, investigators said Gill had come to Lahore from Canada via Dubai in mid-August. She stayed at three hotels — Avari Hotel on Mall Road, Shobra Hotel near the railway station and Amer Hotel on lower Mall Road — and met some unidentified persons. "We are trying to reach those people," an investigator said on condition of anonymity.

On August 31, she was to leave for Karachi to meet journalist Iqbal Hussain of News One channel. Investigators said they had quizzed Hussain but could find out only that Gill was "coming to see him".

The police recommended to the provincial government that a joint investigation team should be set up for a further probe. However, a source in Punjab Police told PTI that the possibility of Gill being in the custody of intelligence agencies could not be ruled out.

Gill's father Sikandar Singh had written a letter to Sukhbir seeking his help in the matter. "Since I know you have strong relations with the Pakistan Punjab Chief Minister, we are optimistic that she will be brought home safely. I served in the Indian Air Force before I moved to Canada 13 years ago. My other family members... joined me (in Canada) in 2007," he wrote. "My daughter then moved to Switzerland after she got a job in a bank in Zurich. She went to Lahore in August to attend a conference but later went missing," Singh added.

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